“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8
Happy are the pure in heart for they shall see God. In the Bible, the heart is the center of our whole being. It’s the core of who we are and the source of what is most important to us. When it comes down to it, the topic of purity is a heart issue.
The Bible links purity and the heart to show that those who value God above all else will be revealed in how they live. Purity flows from a heart that has been transformed by the love and grace of God. No matter how hard you try, you cannot disconnect your sexual behaviors from your heart. For this reason, Jesus says that only the pure in heart can see God. James says those with clean hands and a pure heart are able to draw near to God. What does this mean?
An impure heart leads us to live in a fog or a haze where we cannot see clearly. Sexual sin clouds our vision and makes us blind, deaf, and dumb to the ways and workings of God. You cannot draw near to God while deliberately walking away from what God says is best for your life. Purity leads to clarity. Impurity leads to double-minded idolatry. Meaning, when our heart and our thoughts are clouded by impurity, it quickly leads to some ungodly logic.
- “I love God, but I love porn more so I will keep the secret habit going.”
- “I love God, but I love my boyfriend/girlfriend more so it is fine for us to mess around.”
- “I love God, but I love my freedom more. So, I’ll move in with my significant other rather than waiting until marriage, because I am not ready to be tied down and I want to save money.”
- “I love God, but I want to do things my way and ignore what God says is important.” It just doesn’t make sense.
It’s amazing how quickly we can walk away from God’s design and God’s best by concluding that we know better, all the while in this fog of impurity. Simply put, sexual impurity leads to a fog where it is very difficult to see the goodness and glory of God. It is the pure in heart who will see God. However, the good news of the Gospel shows us that purity can be a reality for all who trust in the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Our sin can be forgiven and we can be called pure and clean in the sight of God if we will turn from our sin and trust in His grace!
Take a moment to honestly examine your heart. Are you lacking spiritual clarity? Are you living in a fog of impurity? Ask God for help surrendering any area where you’re struggling with purity and putting something else before God. Step out on faith and step into the clarity of purity as you trust in the forgiveness and grace of God.
Adapted from a sermon by Senior Pastor, George Wright, Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C.